Three months ago I decided to read and rank (almost) every DC comic of 2021, for no reason except…why not? Overall, I thought 2021 was a good year for DC, and even the bad comics were at least insightful in why they were bad.
Before I get into my ranking, I need to talk about the comics I excluded. I didn’t count additional brands such as DC Horror, Black Label, or young readers and young adults graphic novels. The exclusion of young adult graphic novels is why Whistle isn’t number one. Whistle is really good and you should read it. I also didn’t rank some of the comics that had two or so issues come out in 2021, because I don’t feel like I should judge unfinished stories.
Alright, enough of all that dumb stuff that doesn’t matter, here’s the ranking you came for.
81. Future State: King Shark
I could tell exactly what was wrong with this in the first page. Terrible art that looks like it was from a children’s magazine, awful jokes, and every character is wooden and obnoxious. Nearly every aspect about Suicide Squad: King Shark fails, and it would probably make the top 20 worst DC comics that I have ever read.
80. Future State: Flash
I am convinced that everyone who read this knew it was going to be bad. When the Future State lineup was announced everyone basically reacted to it by saying, “Really DC? Evil Wally again?”. It’s especially weird given how thoroughly the Infinite Frontier Flash book that succeeded this Future State respects Wally West, and tries to undo nearly every crime DC made against him. I disliked this concept when it was Heroes in Crisis, and I disliked it again when it was Future State: Flash.
Unlike King Shark, I do feel like I could find some stuff to like if I had to. The art looks decent, and I found the idea of the Flash Family using the gadgets of different Flash villains to be fun, but two things that I mildly enjoyed cannot save a book with such a bad concept as well as an extremely boring inner monologue.
Out of all these books, this was the one that surprised me with how bad it was. The writing reminds me of a bad anime, where the drama is so over the top and dumb, but it also thinks that it’s so smart. I’m talking about the stuff that makes the Martha scene in Batman vs. Superman look like it’s the opening to Toy Story 4.
This was also the worst take on Shazam since Geoff Johns’ run. At least I understood what Johns was going for, this just had a fundamental misunderstanding for Shazam. You know those terrible memes that talk about how sad it is that Billy doesn’t have a childhood since he’s also Shazam? Will this official Shazam book seems to be on board with that logic.
Neron Was okay, I guess, and kind of cool to see make an appearance, but other than that, everything was bad.
78. Truth and Justice
What even was this?
77. Lobo and Crush
I’m kind of biased here, because I don’t like Lobo, and I don’t like most forms of teen drama, and this book is mostly both of those things, and little else. I tolerate Lobo when he’s paired with interesting co-leads like Superman or Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, but Lobo and teenage girl Lobo is not exactly what I’d call an interesting pairing. As you might have guessed, I also don’t like the drama. It felt really Disney Channel-esque without the self awareness. Say what you will about Disney Channel, but they know what they are doing.
76. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
If I had to summarize Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow in a sentence, it would be, “Tom King wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, but he couldn’t find anyone to play with him, so instead he made a bad Supergirl comic.”.
It feels like Tom King wrote all twelve issues in one day and edited none of it. The main villain’s name is Krem of the Yellow Hills, because Tom King is just playing Dungeons and Dragons with himself.
I heard from someone that Tom King wanted Supergirl to be a cool action hero, like Aragorn, but even if Supergirl being like Aragorn was that great of an idea, she should have a character outside of just being a cool action hero. Aragorn isn’t just some cool, stoic hero, who only exists to appear awesome, he’s an actual character with depth, and a fun personality. And sure, Supergirl has been through a lot, but those tragic experiences are what give her the ability to love and empathize. It reminds me of what King even said about Batman, “And yet he took that pain. That shock of death. And he turned it into hope.”.
Another criticism I have with Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, is that it takes way too long to read.
This adds to the effect,
but this is just unnecessary.
Two things I really do like are the line art by Bilquis Every and the colors by Matheus Lopes. The line art is clean, beautiful, and expressive, the colors are eye pleasing, and the palette is made up of multiple different colors which compliment each other very well.
It probably sounds like I hate Tom King, but I actually think he sounds like a cool guy. Oh, and Human Target is great and definitely worth a read.
75. Superman: Son of Kal-El
This is a hard one to talk about, since so many people that hate this comic are super obnoxious about it, but that being said, I also don’t like it.
The thing I feel Superman: Son of Kal-El fails at, which ends up poisoning the book for me, is the characters. Superman comics have such enjoyable supporting characters, beyond just their relationship with Superman, to where Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, even Perry White now, all have their own (great) comics. However, a character like Jay Nakamura is so flat and uninteresting, to the point where you would have to pay me to read a Jay Nakamura comic.
Both Supermen are written very inconsistently. One moment Jon says Clark can and should do more, the next he says his dad is doing a great job as Superman and he doesn’t think he can do nearly as well as Clark. One moment he wants Clark to do more as Superman, the next he talks about how Superman is his hero. These sound like minor nitpicks, but they took me out of the story, because every issue it feels like Taylor expects me to feel emotions completely contradictory to the emotions I was supposed to feel in the last issue.
There are a couple of good sequences, but all of the main characters fall flat, and I didn’t even talk about how formulaic the villains are.
74. Generations Shattered/Generations Forged
These issues were, “How to make a boring crisis 101”. Even the worst crisis, Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time, understood that with a story where you can have any character interact, you shouldn’t just choose them at random. In Zero Hour, Pre-Killing Joke Barbara and Oliver Queen have a strong bond, and it feels like Dan Jurgens thought about that selection of characters.
These issues want what Crisis on Infinite Earths has, and it’s not even trying to hide it, but it doesn’t understand what made Crisis work in the first place. It’s a total Death of the Justice League.
Robins was a deceptive comic. When I voted for it in last year’s Round Robin, I thought it was going to be a comic where the Robins just sat around, eating waffles, which sounded awesome. Robins was that for half an issue, and spiraled down into an obnoxious argument between Batman and the Robins, where they both refused to just talk to each other.
I wasn’t a fan of the original villains, and every bit of potential they had was destroyed by Seeley’s writing.
I guess you could say Robins…didn’t fly!
…I’m not going to apologize.
72. Future State: Shazam
While not quite as bad as the regular Shazam book, it was still bad. It bit off way more than it could chew in terms of the drama, and the characters seem like they were randomly selected.
71. Batman: Urban Legends
This makes for a fairly decent trade release but a horrible monthly series. For $8.00 a month, the reader will get over twice as much content as a normal comic, but half of which will probably end up forgotten about the moment the next issue releases. I find such a large price more acceptable for special occasions like Detective Comics 1000, because that comic is celebratory, and meticulously detailed from an all-star lineup of writers and artists who each create memorable stories. For $96.00 a year there are a couple of great stories in a sea of bad or decent ones.
70. Suicide Squad
Before I state my thoughts on this book, I’d like to say what I like in a Suicide Squad comic. Both Ostrander and Taylor’s runs on Suicide Squad had fun and occasionally goofy characters who all had distinct powers and/or personalities. The books didn’t take themselves too seriously, but they also didn’t throw serious moments out the window completely.
The Infinite Frontier Suicide Squad is not Suicide Squad, it’s “Task Force Tough Guys”. The roster is perhaps the worst a Suicide Squad has had yet, and nearly every character brings nothing new to the table. The only fun member on the team is Ambush Bug, and he isn’t even well written. While this run on Suicide Squad only ever attempts to be serious, the more light-hearted Suicide Squad books handle their serious moments even more effectively.
69. Teen Titans Academy
This comic could have been so much more. The concept of the Twenty-something Titans teaching a bunch of teenagers to be superheroes seemed promising, until I realized that the writer was prioritizing the obnoxious, super-powered teenagers above the Titans.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the super-powered teenagers shouldn’t be in the book. I’m saying I don’t like that the book dedicates a significant portion to the obnoxious little twerps messing around and insulting the reason the reader probably read the comic in the first place.
The book also has an obsession with Red X, and it acts like he’s the next Red Hood. Although his identity hadn’t been revealed last year, the fact that it took over a year to reveal that Red X was a completely new, original character, is awful. If your going to have a year of buildup in order to reveal the true identity of a character, at least make it count.
68. Justice League: The Last Ride
I’ve heard a ton of great things about Chip Zdarsky, and I feel like this was the worst possible first impression. The idea of a dark and gritty Justice League comic, is just… huh? I’m a firm believer that no idea cannot be made good, but for any idea you need some good execution, and this did not have that. It’s full of terrible clichés and some pet peeves of mine. There are a few things it attempts to do that I appreciated, but the book stays consistently dull, aside from it’s great artwork.
67. Future State: Legion of Superheroes
I actually didn’t mind this on my first read, and I think that was due to how tired I was at the time. On my second read, I found every character to be very unconvincing, in typical Bendis fashion. All of the character designs are fairly bad, even if I did like some of the pages that were drawn by Riley Rossmo. I do like how there was an obvious attempt made by Bendis, even if I didn’t like the execution. Overall the best Bendis comic since Batman: Universe.
66. Future State: Gotham
I actually forget a ton of this comic, pretty much everything except that giant crater in the shape of a bat. Although I can’t quite tell what was so forgettable about this comic, I can say why that one thing was so memorable, and that was because it was so ridiculous, and not in a bad way. I love whenever a comic has goofy and memorable stuff in it, and I’d really like to see more of that stuff.
Oh, and I do remember the fact that this comic was in black-and-white for some reason. It didn’t really add anything, and it didn’t seem like there was really any reason behind it, so that was weird.
65. Future State: Batman/Superman
A “grumpy for the sake of grumpiness” Batman, is one of my biggest pet peeves in DC comics, and one of the pet peeves I referred to Justice League: The Last Ride having. The rest of the comic is decent, and there are some fairly good concepts at play, because Gene Luen Yang is amazing, but Batman brings this one down significantly for me. A minor complaint I have is how disconnected it feels from the rest of Future State. The fact that this book was easily Gene Luen Yang’s weakest comic just goes to show how amazing of a writer he is. Check his stuff out.
64. Justice League
There are few ideas in this comic that don’t feel either boring or unoriginal. The villain is hollow from a writing standpoint, as well as completely basic from a design standpoint. Black Adam has a redemption arc, or at least, the blueprint for another writer to write an actual redemption arc for Black Adam, and Bendis has nothing interesting to add to something that had already been done multiple times before.
Some of the dialogue could honestly be exchanged between characters. One of the most important things about characters is that they need personality, and dialogue is a great reflection of that. It’s not a great sign when the goat villain and Naomi talk the same way.
63. Future State: Suicide Squad
This both makes and dodges a lot of the mistakes the Infinite Frontier Suicide Squad comic did. It actually has fun characters, but still takes itself as seriously as the Infinite Frontier book did. It sounds like a mixed bag, but the two ideas don’t really work well together, the characters are wasted, and it all ends up being fairly boring.
There is not a lot to talk about with this. All of the new characters are dumb and derivative. The terrible new character Tynion introduced this year, was the guy that looked like Christopher Robin.
The story was not interesting, and really should not have been a big event. When Tom King was writing his Batman run, he did not place two big scale events right next to each other, because he knew that would diminish how special events are, he had a long run that developed toward that big final event. When Tynion’s first big event ended, he immediately started getting his next big event ready, which really makes events seem boring and skippable.
61. Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point
I’ll be honest, I thought this was going to be good. The idea of Batman being trapped in a Battle Royale game, while simple, did not sound half bad. It was also being written by Christos Gage, the king of making bad ideas into good stories. Christos does come up with some great ideas, like this,
I actually really like the first two issues for introducing fun concepts, but the other four issues drop the ball. The third issue was trying way too hard to be cool, and ended up being disappointing. The fourth and fifth issue are very predictable, and blend together. The sixth issue is the worst in the series, but I can’t talk about it without spoilers.
One last compliment, the art is really good.
60. Mr. Miracle: The Source of Freedom
I wasn’t feeling this one. I thought the story was meh, and the art had an odd metallic look that I did not find eye pleasing in the slightest.
59. Future State: Teen Titans
Like Mr. Miracle, I have noticeably little to say. Again, like Mr. Miracle, I didn’t care for the story. It felt too ambitious and unnecessarily serious. The art looked pretty good, though.
I forget basically everything about this comic, and this time, I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve read a number of people say that this book was forgettable, and about half of the people who read it complain about how little happened, and I believe these two things are connected. The reason I don’t remember a lot that happened, is not a lot did happen, and when something did happen I was too bored to notice.
57. Arkham City: The Order of the World
I really don’t care. This book could not be farther from my cup of tea.
56. Let Them Live!: Unpublished Tales From the DC Vault
The Ambush Bug segments were way better than the actual stories. The idea sounds cool, until you realize that the stories weren’t good enough to be published in the first place. Every story is poorly constructed, and reads awkwardly. I am aware that this comic has it’s fans, and that’s cool, but I’m not one of them.
55. The Joker
The Joker is the type of comic that I dislike the more I think about it. On paper, the story sounds interesting, but Tynion jumps overboard with it.
This is just over the top. I love a good number of minor details, but minor details are just that, minor. Tynion tries way too hard with a fairly promising concept, making for a mostly boring comic that I have no interest in revisiting whatsoever.
54. Batman '89
Batman '89 seemed like a slam dunk when it was first announced. Joe Quinones finally gets to make a comic that is a continuation of the Burton Batman films and Sam Hamm is writing it.
Now after tons of hype, Batman '89 has been pretty much forgotten, and is barely talked about. The comic starts off with an awesome, cinematic sequence, and is never able to recapture that brief moment of excellence, no matter how many unappealing ideas are incorporated into the panels and art.
One of the biggest problems I had with this comic was how disconnected it felt from the rest of the universe it’s supposedly set in. The dialogue and character design feel very different from both Batman and Batman Returns, and not in a way that feels like an evolution, the comic doesn’t even feel like it belongs in the same reality.
Later on this list there is a comic that succeeds at what I felt were this comic’s primary failures. You’ll know it when you see it, and I’d highly recommend it.
53. Future State: Superman of Metropolis
Future State: Superman of Metropolis is as unnotable as it gets, with a boring story that has been told a million times, and flat characters. There is nothing truly awful about it, but also nothing especially redeemable either.
52. Black Manta
That opening sequence was awesome, but once it was over I thought, “Wait…these people are going to be talking?” I’m sorry I have nothing that interesting to say, but I do not believe there is anything all that interesting to be said about these characters.
51. Future State: Harley Quinn
This was not a book that really grabbed me. The plot, and the oversaturated colors were not my cup of tea.
50. The Flash
I was super excited for this book, because of how awesome the concept sounded. Later I finally read the first issue, but something just didn’t click with me, and then I realized that the same thing happened to me with Scott Lobdell’s Flash Forward. Both comics put a well deserved spotlight on the best speedster, Wally West, but both comics also had very disappointing scripts. This really hurts to say but Jeremy Adams’ dialogue feels unnatural and Bendis-esque.
I’m glad this book exists for the concept alone, and that so many people love it, but I felt the execution was disappointing and could have been way better.
49. Detective Comics
On one hand, the original villains from Tynion’s Batman run were terrible, but on the other hand, their awfulness does lead to some funny and interesting criticisms. Tomaki’s villains are characters like Mr. Rich.
How am I supposed to insult Mr. Rich? He might be terrible but when it comes to actually explaining why he’s terrible there is nothing to work with. After Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics, Tomaki’s Detective Comics feels like a step down, despite all of the potential I thought it had, and Dan Mora’s excellent art. The story is bland and yikes, the villains are bad.
48. Future State: Justice League
The reception for this comic actually seems to be that it’s fairly good. I, however, felt that it was perfectly reflective of the average Williamson comic, just decent. I do like the buddy nature this comic goes for, but the pacing is terrible, and it takes a while for the story to actually get started. One last thing, I’m really not a fan of how Williamson writes Tim Fox. He’s like who the people that don’t like Batman think Batman is.
47. Green Lantern
Green Lantern is a comic that is more interesting to think about what could have been than what actually is. There are aspects the book excels at, but also aspects in which it fails considerably. So, here is a little list of this comic’s weaknesses as well as it’s strengths and how it could be improved.
Lose Teen Lantern. I found her to be obnoxious.
Maybe do what Justice League International did. That’s what I assumed this comic wanted to go for when I saw the cover to the first issue. I feel like the tone of Justice League International would work a lot better on a Green Lantern Corps comic than a Justice League comic.
A bit more John Stewart, and a lot more Jessica Cruz would be nice. The writer understands what make both characters work. This comic genuinely has the best writing from any comic that I have read for John Stewart, and for Jessica Cruz it’s probably third place, or something.
46. Future State: Robin Eternal
I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I wish this comic was just Tim Drake, one of my least favorite characters in all of DC, on his own without the rest of the Batfamily helping him. The first issue starts out with a Tim Drake monologue about how alone he is and how he has to take care of himself, and I thought, “Wow.”. Tim Dake is the weak Robin, so seeing him alone during Future State captivated me. The rest of the comic has him teaming up with around five side characters. But it isn’t all bad, he teams up with the worst possible version of Stephanie Brown!
In all honesty, this book isn’t horrible. The art is good, some of the stuff with the Lazarus Pit is interesting, but I just feel as if I was scammed out of a great comic.
45. Future State: Nightwing
First of all, I love how Nightwing is portrayed. From how respected he is, to his personality, the writer absolutely nailed the character. That being said, the story is so boring, and I could not care less about the team Nightwing leads. Those covers look really great, though.
44. Crime Syndicate
Thinking about it, this book fell victim to the Venom effect. What I’m referring to is that when the 2018 Venom movie came out, instead of actually committing to a story about a villain being a villain, it was about a villain fighting an even worse villain. (Technically Venom wasn’t the first to do this, but it does seem like it popularized it with Venom 2 and Morbius.) I love the Crime Syndicate, but I don’t think they should have their own book.
The art isn’t awful, but these character designs definitely are.
43. Future State: The Next Batman
Woo! Yeah! Arkham Knights! That was such a great development of what Tomasi set up in Detective Comics! Ahhh, that was awesome!
Oh yeah, and there were more stories too. The Next Batman and the Outsiders stories were alright and I liked the art for both of the stories, especially Nick Derington’s art for the Next Batman. If this was just the Arkham Knights, it would be in the top 20. I’d recommend reading this for the Arkham Knights alone.
42. Infinite Frontier
Again, a very Joshua Williamson comic. It’s a bit weird to say, but my favorite character from this miniseries was Roy Harper. I felt Williamson actually did some interesting stuff with him. I also think the multiple artists were all consistently good.
I felt like the Justice League Incarnate stuff was a mixed bag. The inclusion of characters like Captain Carrot and Mary Marvel was nice, but I was disappointed that they didn’t actually do a lot. I understand that with team stories like this, it’s hard to give every character something to do, but I do feel like Williamson could have taken some notes from Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity, especially given how Infinite Frontier really seemed as if it was trying to be the successor to The Multiversity.
I’m not a fan of how Thomas Wayne’s development was handled. I felt it was rushed and not at all believable. I also felt like Director Bones didn’t add a lot to the story, and did not need to be included.
41. Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman
The best Supergirl comic in a while. That being said, I’m not entirely sure if it was good or not, but I think it was. While I am a fan of Supergirl, this wasn’t my type of comic, but I’d be happy to hear if any other Supergirl fan enjoyed it.
40. Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman
I like the concept of the Diana story, but I felt in execution it was bland. Despite not thinking the story was great, I did love both the art and lettering. This book’s visuals were beautiful.
I forget what the Nubia story was about, but I don’t remember it being a lot better than the Diana story.
39. Sensational Wonder Woman
This has good art and, for the most part, decently fun stories. Sensational Wonder Woman is a nice digital first series, and while not every story is good, overall, I think there are a good number of ones that are.
38. Batman: The Adventures Continue: Season 2
After disliking Season 1 immensely, I think a fun, but not entirely campy, Bronze Age feel is the right direction to be taking this comic. Another thing it improved upon Season One was that the fan service felt way more natural.
Although I still found the art to be stiff and much of the dialogue to be poorly written, I had a fun time with this comic and was pleasantly surprised that I did.
37. Future State: Swamp Thing
I know that a ton of people would rank this a lot higher than I am. I want to love this comic. The world is intriguing, the dialogue and characters are very well written, and I was on board after reading the first issue. After reading the second issue, I realized my main problem with this book, and that problem is that it is way too short. I do not believe that two issues have enough space to fully deliver upon this book’s scope, and that’s a shame, because this comic does a lot of things that I feel would be way more impactful if I was more familiar with the characters it introduces.
Future State: Swamp Thing supplies a glimpse of an incredible comic, and I wish that there were more issues for Ram V to fully deliver on that potential.
36. Icon and Rocket
I love a ton of the things this book aims to accomplish, but was not too enthusiastic about the execution. The biggest problem I had with this comic was how poorly paced it was. I felt the relationship between Icon and Rocket was poorly developed, and the comic wastes time that it could have used developing the two’s relationship on insignificant details.
I’d strongly recommend the original Icon run by Dwayne McDuffie if Icon and Rocket sounds like a cool comic to you. The original Icon has a lot of the same concepts that Icon and Rocket has, and I believe it uses those ideas way more effectively.
35. Future State: Superman: House of El
I’ll be honest, for a long time, I forgot that this existed. Now, after finally reading it, I think it’s decent. I think my primary problem is that I simply just could care about the characters. I can’t tell if it has the same problem Future State: Swamp Thing had, the characters were boring, or maybe even both, but I just wasn’t a fan.
My favorite aspect was how interesting of a future it is for the Superman franchise. I love seeing different characters from the Superman mythos have fun, genuinely well thought out cameos in a different environment.
34. Future State: Green Lantern
Ranking this comic was tough, and the reason being is that there were three different stories, and all three had completely different levels of quality. I thought the first story was rushed, and the action was busy and boring.
The second story with Jessica Cruz was the best. The plot was awesome, the art was great, and I all around loved it.
The third story had Guy Gardner as the main character, so I don’t even need to explain why I thought it was cool.
33. I am Batman
There are many instances of fun to be had in this comic. The panel placement is very unique, and the action is very energetic as a result. Another thing that I believe benefits the action is the use of speed lines. In short, the action was well done and easily my favorite part about this comic.
Now I have to mention the primary reason so many people hate this book, Tim Fox. I think he’s fine. Admittedly, I would be disappointed if he took over as Batman for one of my favorite characters in all of fiction, but I also think there could be a lot worse choices.
32. Wonder Girl
Wow, the art by Joelle Jones is amazing! Also, while I hate to admit it, Wonder Girl was very boring. I do love how the passion from Joelle Jones shines through, but I’m not a big fan of most of the stuff in this book, especially the love interest. Along with the art, the other thing that puts this as high as it is on the list is Yara Flor. Out of all of the newer legacy characters DC has made, she is easily my favorite.
Before reading, I had heard good things about this comic. After reading, I must report that I don’t think this comic is all that great, but if it got this high it must have succeeded at something. I do like how this book serves as a character study for Kirk Langstrom, and on that note, a fairly good one. I also like the art, even if I found it to be good but not great. My main problem with this comic was how disconnected all of the side plots were from the main Man-Bat plot. Those plots were not even bad, but they just felt completely unrelated.
30. Future State: Superman: Worlds of War
This seemed like an easy top spot choice. Mikel Janin’s art is beautiful, and the best in his entire career. Philip Kennedy Johnson sums up everything great about his Action Comics into one story that spans over two issues, told with no low points. This is everything that I love about Superman put inside a story that is all killer and no filler. I read Philip Kennedy Johnson say that this was his mission statement for Action Comics and that is exactly the feel I got from it, but I do not believe it is that simple, this is the magnum opus of not only Philip Kennedy Johnson, but Mikel Janin as well.
So why is it here? Well, Mikel Janin and Philip Kennedy Johnson’s masterpiece share a book with three other stories that I got almost no enjoyment out of.
I think that this is easily the hottest take on this list. I loved about half of the 2021 issues, and Catwoman 32 was especially mind-blowing. After the Annual, I did not like a single issue. The art still remained great for the most part, but I felt the writing plummeted in quality. I did not hate the second half of the 2021 issues, but I did find them extremely boring and disappointing. However, even with it’s flaws, I still like Ram V’s Catwoman just fine, and the good outweighs the bad.
28. Wonder Woman
I had a feeling that I was going to like this comic, and my assumptions were correct. When most pieces of media, good and bad, use exposition to set up the story, I’m glad that the Infinite Frontier Wonder Woman instead tells it’s stories just by having Wonder Woman walk through the setting.
I love the art, and how original this was. The only thing I feel that keeps this from being a knock out of the park is Ratatosk. I thought he was annoying and unnecessary.
27. Future Sate: Wonder Woman
Similar to Joelle Jones’ Wonder Girl, the art by Joelle Jones is fantastic, and Yara Flor is a super entertaining protagonist. This comic is original and has a fun plot that goes well with such an enjoyable main character as Yara Flor.
I find Caipora to be obnoxious, but unlike Ratatosk from Wonder Woman I did think she served a purpose. Unlike a significant amount of people, I do not think that Future State: Wonder Woman was the best Future State, but I did like it and I believe that it has loads of charm.
26. Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman
I did not expect to enjoy Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman as much as I did. I love whenever a comic just decides to do some amusing and wacky stuff, and that is exactly what this comic did. The comic describing how Jon Kent drinks his cup of coffee in 2.7 seconds, and how he could drink it quicker but he likes to savor his morning cup, is one of the most charming things that I have read from any of the comics on this list.
Some aspects are not great, like how Yara Flor’s personality is fairly different from her personality in the other books she’s in, but I love this comic anyway.
So if this seems like the type of comic you would like,
Then I would highly recommend it.
25. Blue and Gold
Blue and Gold seems like it has everything going against it. The villain (Omnizon) is bland, none of the civilian characters feel like real people, and Blue and Gold has likable characters from other books be unlikable in order to service the story it is telling. So why does Blue and Gold make the top 25? The reason, or reasons, that I enjoyed the book are the titular characters.
Dan Jurgens knows Blue Beetle and Booster Gold as well as Peter Tomasi knows Jon Kent and Damian Wayne. Blue and Gold have a great, entertaining dynamic that is able to save the comic for me. I also got a lot of enjoyment out of Ryan Sook’s art. In addition to being just simply, well drawn, the art has an amusing flair.
As I previously said, I don’t like most forms of Teen drama, but I actually think the drama from Static is maturely written, even if there are times that it can get a bit melodramatic. I think Virgil Hawkins is a good protagonist that is able to remain likable in spite of the mistakes he makes. The art is also good, and a standout is the costume design.
I have little bad to say about Static, and everyone else seems to be loving it. I’d give it a recommendation to anyone interested in reading it.
23. Batman: The Detective
Batman: The Detective is a cool comic, and the reason being is that it is a story that Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert thought it would be fun to tell. Just reading interviews with them is awesome because of how obviously enthusiastic they were about the comic. Andy Kubert made his start drawing Batman comics 232 Ace the Bat-hound dog years ago (yes, that is a real fact), so he knows what he is doing, and puts in a ton of effort for every recent comic he has been the artist of.
I love stuff like Batman and a new Robin fighting a monstrous Gentleman Ghost, and this comic is loaded with things like that. My only gripe is how weird the villain’s plan is once you actually think about it. Otherwise, this is a good comic.
22. Future State: Aquaman
Admittedly Future State: Aquaman was one of the Future State books that I was the least excited for. However I am surprised to say that I liked it. Just to get this out of the way, I think this comic’s worst failure would have to be how forgettable the villains are.
The comic uses a tried and true type of dynamic that does not feel completely unoriginal. The first issue was great and the second issue was weaker but still a satisfying conclusion to what the first issue set up. Future State: Aquaman was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
21. Wonder Woman: Black and Gold
While not on par with Superman: Red and Blue, it was still good. The reason being is that the stories were not as consistently good. I’d like to clarify that I still thought the stories were above average, but all over the place when it comes to the quality of a story. About one story an issue is bad, a pair of stories are decent, a pair of stories are good, and at least one story an issue is amazing. Unlike Superman: Red and Blue, a story is not guaranteed to be good, but similar to Superman: Red and Blue the comic, overall, is.
20. Superman and the Authority
When Superman and the Authority is at it’s best, it’s a blast to read. My friend, @biff_pow said that it felt like a Tom Strong comic, and I think that is a great comparison. I love Mikel Janin’s art, the team, and the pulpy nature of the comic.
The second issue is not enjoyable, but this is Superman and the Authority and I love it nonetheless.
19. Harley Quinn
The Infinite Frontier Harley Quinn is the Harley Quinn comic I’ve wanted for years. After disliking how the Harley Quinn comics have been for the past decade, this fixes nearly everything that I was not a fan of. The Harley Quinn costume is not the worst thing ever made by a human, Harley talks like a normal person, and best of all, Harley actually develops as a character after being just a glorified villain for the longest time.
I also liked Riley Rossmo’s art. It can look fuzzy and a bit weird, but I find the style to be fun and a fitting choice for a Harley Quinn book. While I am shocked to say this, I liked this comic a lot.
18. Deathstroke Inc.
This is my second favorite comic that Joshua Williamson has ever written. Deathstroke Inc. is a guilty pleasure of mine, and everything about it is over the top. The week I read this was a tough one for me, so reading it was a delight. The plot of every issue is insane and I love it. The first issue has Deathstroke and Black Canary fight bee people, the second issue has them go to space and fight villains with lightsabers, and the third has Deathstroke go inside of a fantasy storybook. The series is nonstop fun, and a read that I got a ton of enjoyment out of.
17. The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries
This is a Batman and Scooby-Doo crossover. You already know why it’s good.
I thought Scooby-Doo Teamup from a couple of years ago was already fairly decent, but The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries improves upon that series considerably. The art is better, the writing is more clever, and the plots are more fun. There is a lot of polish and attention to detail added to The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries that I appreciated, even though I was not expecting it.
Out of all of the Milestone Returns comics that have come out so far, Hardware is easily my favorite. The “on the run” type of story always has the potential to be something special, and I think it works greatly here. I love the rough pencils and fantastic paneling. Hardware is a criminally overlooked comic, and I would recommend it.
Tom Taylor and Bruno Rendondo’s Nightwing is a comic so great, that even the Fear State issues are at least pretty good. Taylor does a good job writing, but the real show stealer is the art. The pencils by Bruno Rendondo are already excellent, but the colors by Adriano Lucas are able to increase that excellence to an even higher degree.
There are a couple of problems that I have with this comic, though. I could not care less about Melinda Zucco, and Blockbuster just felt like he was doing a bland Kingpin impression. Other than those two flaws, I think all of the love this book has been getting is warranted.
14. Action Comics
Philip Kennedy Johnson’s Action Comics is further evidence to the fact that original stories can be told with a kind Superman, who so many people are quick to label, “boring”. As long as new stories are told with him, a “Boy Scout” Superman, will never cease to entertain me.
Like Bendis’ previous runs on Action Comics and Superman, Clark is challenged, but unlike Bendis’ runs, the challenges Clark goes through make sense, and serve a purpose. I can now sympathize with the Snyder fans that say Snyder’s Superman was not dark, rather, the world around him was. Mongul is a great choice for the villain, since Mongul represents the exact opposite thing that Superman does.
The pacing may be wonky, but Philip Kennedy Johnson’s Action Comics is still an excellent character study on Superman.
13. Wayne Family Adventures
Other than Nightwing, Wayne Family Adventures might be the most celebrated comic on this list. I love seeing other people love this comic, and it seems like most everyone is on the same page about it.
Wayne Family Adventures is funny, entertaining to read, drawn with personality, and every member of the Batfamily is written near perfectly. I love it, and, chances are, so do you.
12. Superman '78
Remember when I said that there would be a comic on the list that succeeded at what I felt Batman '89 failed to accomplish? Well, this is that comic. Robert Venditti does a great job of recreating the same universe from the Donner Superman films, while introducing new characters and ideas into that same world. Metropolis still has the same charming, bustling feel to it, and characters like Clark, Lois, and Lex, all have the same personalities that they had in the movies. Brainiac simultaneously fits right into the world, but also stands out, due to how dangerous of a villain he is presented as being. I was not a fan of Batman '89, but Superman '78 being surprisingly good more than made up for it.
11. Justice League Infinity
This is pretty much the same as Superman '78. According to James Tucker and J.M. DeMatteis, Justice League Infinity’s concept was the same as the proposed Justice League Unlimited Season 4. The book tells a fun, thoughtful Multiverse story. For a story about the Multiverse, Justice League Infinity’s plot is fairly simple, yet still enjoyable.
Additionally, the comic’s visuals are beautiful. Ethen Beavers’ art is reminiscent of the classic Bruce Timm style, but is also much more stylized, and reminds me of Gendi Tartakovsky’s thick lined, expressive style. That, combined with Nick Filardi’s vibrant colors, make for a visual marvel.
10. Swamp Thing
The first volume of Ram V’s Swamp Thing is a great character study on Levi Kamei, the new Swamp Thing that Ram V introduces. Mike Perkins seems to go for a realistic look to his art, or probably more accurately, a surrealistic look. The art looks beautiful, and is able to amplify what I hear many people say was the best part of the comic, the horror.
Although I do agree that the horror is very well done, my favorite part of the book is it’s hopefulness. I loved Levi Kamei’s character arc at the beginning, and it was something that made me smile. While Swamp Thing is considered DC’s “king of horror”, I am glad that Ram V nailed what make Swamp Thing comics special, in my opinion.
9. Future State: Dark Detective
Mariko Tomaki crafts a tense, well paced comic that The Incredible Hulk should take notes from. Unlike Detective Comics, Mariko Tamaki’s writing is actually on par with Dan Mora’s art. The panel placement is superb, and allows the story to feel epic. The Peacekeeper is an intimidating villain that I feel is the perfect antagonist for a book like this.
Future State: Dark Detective is only four issues, and I believe it is definitely worth the price of admission. I have seen people that don’t even like Batman like this comic.
8. Superman: Red and Blue
The best anthology series of the year, by far. This is an incredibly visually appealing book, and it’s very interesting to see how each artist uses the titular red and blue color scheme. Every story highlights what makes Superman an incredible character, whether it be his humanity, his fortitude, his compassion, or his heroism. To explain why Superman: Red and Blue is great, is to explain why Superman is great.
7. Challenge of the Super Sons
The boys are back! I will admit that not having Jorge Jimenez as an artist is disappointing, but I love everything else. Peter Tomasi knows Jon and Damian like the back of his hand, and just seeing the two back at it again is enough for this comic to be great. Additionally, the story is entertaining and, in normal Super Sons fashion, very rereadable.
At one point, Damian tells a clown, “Clown! Balloons in the name of justice–Now!”, because this is an enjoyable comic, written by a writer that just wants to have fun.
Wow, I knew Robin was going to be good, but I didn’t think it would be this good! Robin blew me away, and is Joshua Williamson’s best comic, by a far margin. The concept of a tournament with Damian Wayne and other great fighters in the DC universe is fun, but there are additional details that make the story interesting. The art by Gleb Melnikov is very good, and the action is fantastic, which compliments the tournament story greatly.
Joshua Williamson nails Damian, and basically every other character for that matter, one of the standouts being my favorite original character of 2021, Flatline. Robin slaps, and if you have not checked it out, I would recommend doing so.
Gene Luen Yang is my favorite writer currently working for DC, and he knows exactly how to make a comic book. To put it simply, this comic is a ton of fun. The portrayals of Batman, Superman, and Robin are all a breath of classic, fresh air. Another reason this book is so fun is Ivan Reis’ beautiful art and the incredibly creative paneling. The entire comic is a spectacle. I have not liked a Batman and Superman team up comic since World’s Finest, so Gene Luen Yang’s Batman/Superman came as a pleasant surprise.
4. The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox
I don’t want to spoil anything about this comic, except, it’s worth it. I can not recommend this criminally underrated comic enough. There are parts where you may doubt that you’ll be left with a satisfying conclusion, but trust me, you will.
3. Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex
Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex is a simple Superman vs. Lex Luthor comic that I enjoyed a lot. It may up the ante, but the charm of a classic Superman story remains. I love the art, and I feel it’s detailed but the detail added isn’t unnecessary. Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex thoroughly entertained me from start to finish. I love it.
I was not expecting Pennyworth to be excellent, but it was. Juan Gedeon’s colors, landscapes and action all look great. Scott Bryan Wilson’s writing is also on point, with expertly written dialogue, and fun details. Pennyworth also just serves as a great spy story, with many fun ideas, and two immensely likable main characters. The whole comic is just rock solid. I will never watch the show, but at least the comic is remarkable.
1. Future State: Cawoman
I can not think of a single negative to this comic. Otto Schmidt’s art is beautiful, with great action and paneling as well. I also love the coloring, and how it’s able to further set the mood. For instance, the cold, drab opening that eases the reader into the evil capabilities of the villain.
Additionally, Ram V does an incredible job writing. The pacing is impeccable, and the single setting is simple, and effective. The non-antagonist main and supporting characters are all either likable or entertaining. Best of all is the atmosphere that both Ram V and Otto Schmidt create together, and every element together builds an incredible comic.
Future State: Catwoman is my favorite comic of 2021.
(And, thank you for reading. I appreciate it.)